Benefits of Bilingualism for Business

Increasing numbers of business owners and employees are learning a key way to be more successful in their ventures: learning a new language. Scientists, psychologists, and other experts have studied the benefits of becoming bilingual for decades.

Those benefits have only increased and become more apparent to greater numbers of people since the twenty-first century began. For example, researchers have found senior citizens who learn second languages are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease 4.3 years later than their monolingual counterparts. Additionally, research has found learning second or even third languages increases linguistic awareness in adults and children. For businesspeople, linguistic knowledge often means better public relations, a deeper knowledge of global affairs, and improved negotiation skills.

LearningEmployees entering the workforce in 2014 could expect a 10-15% pay increase if they added a second language to their repertoire, according to the CEO of BRIC Language Systems. However, bilingualism does not simply benefit business employees. It can benefit the people they serve, as well. For example, if you’re a real estate agent in a predominantly Spanish-speaking area, learning at least some basic Spanish is likely to help you maintain client relationships and gain new clients. Recall that people new to your country might feel more at ease if you speak their language; it indicates empathy and a desire to know them as people, not profitmaking entities.

Get Smart

Neurological studies show “bilinguals have more gray matter” in the areas of their brains responsible for vocabulary, language acquisition, and verbal memory. Learning a foreign language will challenge your brain in other areas, as well. For example, if you struggle with poor visual memory, try learning a language with a non-Roman or character alphabet. Options include Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, or Russian. Learning to associate new letter forms with familiar words will improve memory and cognition. As a result, you may find it easier to make difficult decisions and negotiate deals, increasing your value within the business world.

How Technology Can Help

Many of today’s businesspeople shy away from learning languages because they think it’s tedious. They’re likely remembering endless drills and conjugations in school, or repeating the same simple conversations with little or no feedback. Fortunately, language learning has evolved with the times. Today’s learners can use their computers, iPhones, or tablets for a true virtual immersion experience. Popular programs come in a variety of language options and build on what the user already knows from screen to screen or level to level. This mimics the way language acquisition works for small children, making it easier and more fun.

For more information on increasing your market reach, whether it’s through a new language or a PPC campaign, contact SteerPoint.